Baths, Law, Nurses, Japan, Shapes

Naked Souls

Rachel Polonsky | New York Review Of Books | 26th October 2020

Cultural history of the Russian steam-bath, or banya, dating from Scythian antiquity. "Its customs were shaped by the diverse cultures converging on the trade routes between Scandinavia and Byzantium — pagan, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim. It absorbed their taboos and age-old associations of bathing with purity and defilement, virtue and corruption, sanctity and licentiousness" (3,560 words)

The United States Supreme Court

Eve Gerber | Five Books | 26th October 2020

Harvard law professor Michael Klarman talks about the history, politics and jurisdiction of the American Supreme Court. "If Democrats win in November, they will have won the popular vote in seven out of the last eight presidential elections; yet Republican presidents, who did not enter office having won the popular vote, will have appointed five out of the nine Supreme Court justices" (6,900 words)

Saint In The City

Ernesto Barbieri | Believer | 28th October 2020

Notes from a New York nurse's diary. "Patients who survive defibrillation describe the effect as being kicked in the chest by a mule. The experience can produce some fascinating insights. Tunnels, and light. A surprising number of people hallucinate babies crawling on the floor. One woman with bone cancer, lucid to her last breath, looked me in the eyes and said, 'I’m going back now'. And did" (2,600 words)

Japan's Death-Wish

Kaori Shoji | Japan Subculture Research | 23rd October 2020

Suicides in Japan are "like wildfires in California — tragic and inevitable". Suicide has "never been taboo" in Japan; rather, it is viewed as "the best and most effective way to erase problems". In August 2020, 1,854 people took their own lives. The numbers are expected to spike in December – "a month when many Japanese seek escape from year-end financial troubles", exacerbated by Covid (1,020 words)

Delight In The Mundane

Ken Richardson | Quanta | 26th October 2020

Conversation with mathematician and physicist L. Mahadevan, who specialises in studying seemingly trivial phenomena such as dripping taps, drying paint, sniffing dogs and crumpled paper. "We have just analyzed the shape of an apple. The most interesting thing is the cusp-like feature where the stalk meets the fruit. That feature is symmetric in a Fuji apple but not in a Red Delicious" (2,600 words)

Video: Lost Places | Fabian Aerts. Imagined landscapes, set to words spoken by Alan Watts. Ozymandias meets Indiana Jones (1m 50s)

Audio: The Hangover | Gastropod. Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley discuss the science of hangovers with Adam Rogers and other guests (42m 56s)

"Hurry? I have no time to hurry"
Igor Stravinsky

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